Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Saving The Balili River: Does It Have A Chance?

Arthur Tibaldo, in his column for Baguio Sun Star recently penned a piece about saving and reviving the Balili River. It's a commendable cause and one that deserves the support of the citizens of Baguio City and La Trinidad. The river is basically dead and it has been for a very long time. 

The river currently serves just two purposes. These are:
1) a source of water for vegetable and flower farms near its banks -Since the river runs below most of the farms it waters, farmers often use pumps to propel the water to higher elevations. If you live near the banks of the river, it is not uncommon to hear the gurgling sound of water pumps.
2) a dumping place for human refuse and wastes - It's a negative purpose, obviously. And it's the main culprit for the deterioration of the river.

Old news
Efforts to get the river to its original state (or at least near it) is a very old story that dates back to the 1980s. People have been trying to revive the river for the longest time. And nothing worked. This brings us to the question "Will the current efforts to save the river be successful where its predecessors miserably failed?"
Not trying to be too pessimistic but the more you look into how the Balili River got polluted, the more there's reason to believe that reviving it is a lost cause. It's close to impossible. The biggest reason is the fact that the river is surrounded by human settlements. The wastes from hundreds of sewers and canals all lead to the Balili River.

Just go to either Kilometer 3 or 4 or 5 and look at the banks of the river. You'll see huge pipes and canal outlets spewing wastes that originated from the homes of the people living there. And you can't blame them for they have no choice on where to direct their sewers.

In conclusion, all efforts to save and revive the Balili River should be supported but it's also worth noting the fact that the river can never be restored to its original state. The quality of the water that flows through it can be improved and the amount of wastes dumped into it can be lessened. And this will require regular clean-up drives. This is the only solution that's available for now. If we are talking about turning the river into one that can support fish, it's impossible. Let us also take into account the fact that populations near the river are growing. That means more sewers. And you know where these sewers will eventually lead to.